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December 03. 2013 7:42PM

New Hampshire clients transitioning to Medicaid Managed Care

CONCORD — State Health and Human Services officials said Tuesday the first few days on the new Medi­caid Managed Care program have gone smoothly.

Officials said there were no reported incidents of concern, but an oversight team to work on any problems that occur will continue operating for several weeks.

"I am pleased our first two full days of operation have gone smoothly," said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. "However, it is too soon to say what might happen in the coming days, so I've asked our MCM implementation team to remain in place, just in case. Our goal throughout this transition is to do everything we can to ensure clients and providers a seamless transition to the greatest extent possible."

To date, about 104,000 out of the 130,000 Medicaid recipients have been transferred to the managed care management companies administering the program for the state.

Medicaid recipients with scheduled appointments should keep their appointments and will receive the care they need from their providers, Toumpas said.

State lawmakers first approved moving to a managed-care system for the Medicaid program from a fee-for-service model in 2011, but the program failed to get off the ground when hospitals, mental health centers and community health centers balked at the low rates offered by the three companies hired to administer the program.

The state's largest hospitals sued the state two years ago, claiming the reimbursement rates under the Medicaid program were too low to sustain the health care system for the poor and were set illegally. That case is still pending in federal court.

To entice the hospitals to join the managed care networks, Gov. Maggie Hassan, the House and the Senate put additional money into the uncompensated care program and increased some provider rates.

The budget passed by lawmakers in June uses general fund money for some of the state's uncompensated care share, but health care providers had to join the managed care networks by July 1 to receive the money.

The nine Community Mental Health Centers signed agreements with the three companies in August, and that was the final piece of the puzzle to complete the needed provider networks.

The hospitals and community health centers agreed to join the managed care networks in July.

Medicaid recipients with questions about the managed care program can call Medicaid Client Services at 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4344. Anyone else with questions can call 1-888-901-4999.

Providers with questions can email their questions to: mcmprovidercontact@dhhs.state.nh.us.

grayno@unionleader.com


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